Disney just paid over $4 Billion for Lucasfilm and the jewel of George Lucas’ eye, the Star Wars Universe. The House of Mouse wasted no time, announcing that a new live-action Star Wars film (tentatively titled Star Wars Episode VII) will be released in 2015, with new films following every few years. With only two to three years to plan, shoot, and edit, a story is probably already in place. But that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate.
Here are five possible directions that Disney could take its new toy in.
1) The Thrawn Trilogy
A set of three books written by sci-fi master Timothy Zahn, the Thrawn Trilogy starts with 1991′s Heir to the Empire novel, the first official foray by Lucasfilm into the world now known as the Expanded Star Wars Universe. The Thrawn Trilogy takes place five years after Return of the Jedi, with Han, Luke, Leia, and Chewbacca joining to fight the remnants of the Empire led by the captivating Grand Admiral Thrawn, During the course of the three books, Luke and Leia are also seduced by a Jedi who aims to lure the twins to the Dark Side.
The Thrawn Trilogy would allow for some storyline separation between the 2015 Star Wars movie and Return of the Jedi. This could be a positive, as the separation in time could make it more palatable for fans to see new actors take on the pivotal roles of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Leia Organa. If Disney chooses this direction, fans would also see the introduction of several new characters, including Luke’s future wife, Mara Jade, along with Han and Leia’s children while the stage is set for a number of live action movies.
2) The Rise of Darth Vader
The Cartoon Network Clone Wars series has steered far away from the twenty-year period between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, a period where Darth Vader travels the universe as a pawn of the Empire. Fans would flock to a Darth Vader-centric movie, showing the emotional complexity of Anakin Skywalker as he struggles with the transformation from a vibrant young Jedi to cybernetic killing machine by Emperor Palpatine.
This moody science fiction film could feature a twenty to thirty-something Darth Vader struggling with the loss of his humanity, his forced servitude, the loss of his wife, and the possibility that his twin children are somewhere out there in the universe.
3) Pick up right after Return of the Jedi
By the end of Return of the Jedi, we see Han, Luke, Leia, C3-PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca, and Lando dancing happily around an Ewok-created fire. The Rebels have won, but where do they go from here? This movie could switch back and forth between characters, taking a look at Leia’s political rise as a leader in the Republic (also pointed to in the Expanded Universe novels), Han’s life as a sometimes unwillingly betrothed man, and Luke’s continued Jedi training.
It would be difficult to see new actors take over these roles without a separation in story chronology, but if it’s a new Star Wars film, fans will be all over it.
4) A Boba Fett Spin-Off
Rumors of an ongoing Star Wars live-action television series have floated around for the past four years, with the series centering on the life and times of bounty hunters and possibly starring Boba Fett. While the series has yet to surface, there are no doubt numerous scripts and plot lines established for the series – why not use some of these for the next movie?
A movie revolving around a teenage Boba Fett establishing himself as a bounty hunter would merge two generations of Star Wars fans, and end possibly end the Prequel/Original Trilogy divide. If this doesn’t become the next film, we could still see it in series form on Disney-owned ABC in the future.
5) The Old Republic
Already the setting for BioWare’s hit video games Knights of the Old Republic I & II and the Old Republic MMORPG, the Old Republic is a massive time period taking place 25,000 years to 1,000 years before Star Wars: A New Hope.
This might be the easiest time period to write about and film, as many of the technological aspects are familiar to fans of the franchise (they have blasters, light sabers, and spacecraft) and completely new characters can be immediately introduced without contradicting the existing Star Wars film franchise.